A Sidewalk Orchard 

(This is a 2018 garden description. Gardens for this year’s tour can be found here.)

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

What if your only option for planting a garden was on your parking strip? And what if your house was built on a steep slope? The solution? Be creative and design a real working garden within a confined space. Use edibles and ornamentals that make you happy and add joy to neighbors and passersby. Make a garden that sparks conversation and invites everyone to slow down and smell the flowers. This is exactly what this gardener has done. 

Nancy began the transformation by covering the parking strip with cardboard to starve grass and weeds before layering with compost and other natural soil amendments. Planting began in 2001. Now this lush and healthy growing environment supports a cherry tree, raspberries, blueberries, rugosa roses, herbs, and a wide array of vegetables, from lettuce and kale to carrots. You will find two espaliered apple trees (eight varieties) and two pear trees (three varieties) flanking both sides of the home’s suspended entryway. Colorful daylilies, sedum and dahlias invite you to take a closer look. 

Walk onto the entry bridge and peer over the edge to see a very creative solution for limited space—the “moat”—a space between the sidewalk and the house that most people might overlook as an gardening opportunity. You will see a lovely microcosm of native plants like trillium, bleeding hearts and ferns thriving in limited light conditions and benefiting from hillside moisture. A large madrone, planted as a seedling from Nancy’s mother’s garden, also flourishes here and is a focal point for humans and birds alike. 

Wheelchair accessible.